Preparing for Christmas
Something you can count on - and we hope you will! - is that it's about this time of the year that excitement builds everywhere for Christmas. We see it in decorations at home and abroad, in commercials (of course), in theatres - even on Main Street. In fact - especially as Americans - it's very easy for the simple Gospel to be drowned out by the roar of the crowd.
Was it always like this? Actually, no - there was a time (a very long time ago) when December came around and there was no particular emphasis. Easter was actually the most important celebration.
Here's a great video by Ryan Reeves, an Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, describing historically how Christmas gained such great prominence.
Every big idea had to have a small beginning.
The same can be true for us. Have you thought about deepening your walk with Christ in your prayer and Bible reading times by focussing on Advent?
One thing I try to do is to read selections from the suggestions of others. In fact, here's another one that's a bit more involved. Christians have been doing this for a long time, now, so we've gotten pretty good at reading the really important scriptures. And with the advent (get it?) of mobile devices, we can literally be anywhere and take a moment to calmly reflect.
But that's the problem: Christmas is more about rush than hush; decoration instead of reflection; revelry instead of reverence; gifts instead of The Gift.
I'm not "downing" on decoration or celebration - quite the contrary.
The point is to clear our heads and hearts to focus on the most important event in human history: When God purposely became part of His creation in order to redeem that fallen creation from the consequences of its rebellion. There's a lot of distraction and if we're not careful, the world will steal a great opportunity for us to celebrate the Coming of Christ with deep meaning and passion.
So, as advent begins, we at Grace pray for an outstanding Christmas for you and your family - oustanding in that it's one like you've never celebrated before. And at the risk of sounding cliche: that you might know that Jesus is indeed the reason for the season.